WHEN the boy band 1:43 started four years ago, quite a handful of detractors didn’t mince words in saying that they were K-Pop spin-offs, that they didn’t have the range to become successful music performers. They immediately dismissed the group as flash-in-the-pan, something that the audience would forget as soon as another hot male group comes along. Three best-selling albums, a string of monster hits, multi-million views of their music videos on Youtube, and hundreds of jam-packed performances across the archipelago later, 1:43 members Anjo Resurreccion, Argee Golding, Gold Aquino and Yuki Sakamoto have not only proved their detractors wrong. They have also exceeded expectations by become one of the country’s most successful (and most desirable) music groups in recent memory.
“We didn’t allow the hate to affect us,” says Yuki. “What has been important to us is the music. We know in ourselves that we have always been hungry to learn and improve every step of the way. The goal has always been to give our audience the best performance that we can deliver.”
This focus on learning and growth shows in their latest album, #KalyePop,(KPOP) released under MCA Universal. While the record still carries the “kilig” ballads in the vein of ”Sa Isang Sulyap Mo” (hailed as Song of the Year by 5th PMPC Star Awards for Music ), it’s notable for including tracks that straddle genres: pop, novelty and dance. The accusation that they are some K-Pop wannabes is dispelled by this album that captures the musical blend beloved by the Filipinos: a combination of lightness, humor and catchy hooks. In 1:43’s music is a true-blue Filipino heart.
“Ang Saya-Saya” is the song that best represents this identifiable Filipino streak. Days after the song has hit airwaves, music channels and YouTube, it has caught fire, making people replicate the signature dance moves that the 1:43 boys demonstrate with a smile (and a dose of sizzling sexiness). Proof that it is now part of pop culture is its becoming the official theme song of the GMA sitcom Ismol Family and the dance craze of Sunday All Stars.
“After the success of our single ‘Hayop sa Ganda,’ we were quite nervous how the audience would respond to ‘Ang Saya-Saya,’” says Anjo. “Good thing that the song has really caught up. In our shows, the people just naturally do the moves whenever we sing the song.”
Accolades for the group have been coming. This year alone, the group was nominated for Best/Group Duo in the 6th PMPC Awards for Music alongside SpongeCola, Rocksteddy and Parokya ni Edgar. They also won the Most Promising Recording and Performing Group in the 45th Box Office Entertainment Awards of the Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Scholarship Foundation, a barometer of the most bankable local talents.
It doesn’t hurt that 1:43’s musical growth coincides with their maturity as men. When before they looked like your typical boys next door as they were starting in the industry, now the 1:43 members are full-fledged men, with well-defined muscles (Anjo’s rippling abs are legendary) that make girls swoon. In fact, even some of them faint during 1:43’s perfomance.
The boys’ oozing confidence and sexual appeal translates into a heart-stopping showmanship and stage presence each time they perform in corporate events, campus and mall shows and festivals. No less than Rated K, hosted by the indefatigable Korina Sanchez, certified the group as one of the hottest local celebrities today. With their string of successes, 1:43 is emboldened to do more projects that push the envelope. They started this with a story-telling twist in the music video of “Hayop Sa Ganda.” The woman that is being “wooed” in this video is not your typical damsel but the transwoman Miss International Queen Kevin Balot. So far, the music video has garnered over half a million views in YouTube.
Also embodying this twist is their soon-to-be-released music video, “Pwede Bang Malaman,” which features beauty queen and actress Chloe Dauden. This time, the boys will showcase their mature sensual side. Whatever they will “reveal” in the video will definitely send heartbeats and pulse rates racing. “Our fans will definitely love this video,” says Gold. “We have been working hard in the gym, so they better watch out.”
While the four boys have found success as a group, individually, they still pursue their own passions. Anjo, Myx VJ Search finalist, is now doing hosting gigs; Gold is an entrepreneur and about to launch his own perfume company; while Yuki and Argee are honing their acting chops to prepare them for eventual appearances in soaps. “It’s important to us to have our own projects,” says Argee, the latest addition to the group. “It makes us bring something new to the table each time we perform together.”
Despite having proven their mettle in the cutthroat music industry, 1:43 continues to challenges themselves, hone their musical style and reach out to as many fans as they can to bring their refreshing and captivating take on Original Pilipino Music. With their hearts in the right place, the 1:43 boys are here to stay.